DATATON BRINGS ART AND PHOTOGRAPHY TO LIFE AT SWEDEN’S FOTOGRAFISKA

Fotografiska building, Stockholm © Max Plunger

Fotografiska building, Stockholm © Max Plunger

Founded by brothers Jan and Per Broman, Fotografiska is Stockholm’s pioneering centre for the appreciation and advancement of the art of photography. Far more than simply a photographers’ gallery, Fotografiska is a cultural space that hosts lectures and workshops, inviting visitors to take a fresh look at the diversity and complexity of the photographed image.

Through the Fotografiska Academy, the venue also acts as a location for educational courses aimed at those wanting to improve their knowledge of photography and their work as photographers.

To round out its offering, Fotografiska acts as a social hub, offering indoor and outdoor cafés, hosting live-music events, and renting out a variety of event and conference spaces to third-party organisations.

As part of its innovative approach to its subject, Fotografiska uses both of Dataton’s key product lines: the PICKUP audio guide system and WATCHOUT multi-display presentation software.

“We’re always thinking about what makes a great experience, and ways in which we can complete that experience for the end user,” comments Jan Broman. “We want to offer people not just a space that gives them a chance to look at great photos, but which fulfils the needs of people who want to do more than simply be a visitor to a museum; of people who want to learn. That is really what Fotografiska is all about.”

Daniel Bodenfors, Digital Editor at Fotografiska, works with both the PICKUP and WATCHOUT systems, and has witnessed the way in which they have enhanced the venue’s offering at first-hand. Explaining the use of PICKUP, he says:

“As well as guided tours of Fotografiska, we also offer tours of our temporary exhibitions. For these, we give each photo a PICKUP microtag located next to the photo. If a visitor wants to know more about a particular photograph, they simply point their individual PICKUP at the photo, press the button, and the audio guide for that item begins playing through their headphones.

“Recently we have been lucky enough to have some photographers record conversations with exhibition curators which we have then uploaded to the PICKUP system, so that visitors actually hear the creative background behind some of the images directly from the artist’s mouth, as it were, as they view each one.

“The PICKUP system is incredibly intuitive to use, and its ability to store up to 100 hours of audio means we are never short of space for more information!”

As well as conventional gallery spaces, Fotografiska also has a variety of conference and event spaces, of which the centrepiece is the Eventhallen or ‘F1’ as it is now known. Since January this year, the walls of this room have been used as a giant immersive projection screen. Using WATCHOUT, the images from the room’s projectors are seamlessly blended together and warped to correct for the geometry of the corners of the room.

“With the help of WATCHOUT, this room can have just about any visual backdrop we choose,” says Bodenfors. “It can be something as simple as images of disco light-bulbs, or as complex as multiple images from one of our exhibitions being merged together and replayed in a pre-programmed, fully synchronised sequence.

“Since we dressed the room in WATCHOUT we’ve used it for countless events, and the effects have been breathtaking. WATCHOUT is an excellent event tool that allows us to change the whole character of the room in seconds.”

Fredrik Svahnberg, Marketing Director, Dataton, says that while the Fotografiska project is only the latest in a long line of visitor attractions to make good use of the company’s technology, it is one of the most inspiring:

“To be able to listen directly to a photographer’s description of the image they have taken while viewing that image, and to be immersed in those images in new and exciting ways, both under the same roof, is really quite something. Fotografiska is at the forefront of enhancing our appreciation of photography and graphic art, and we are delighted that Dataton has been able to provide two different yet complementary product lines to assist the facility in achieving its creative goals.”

For all its pioneering work with new technology, however, Fotografiska is continuing its journey with Dataton. Bodenfors concludes: “Our next step will be to integrate the two systems together, bringing PICKUP into the WATCHOUT event space so that we can have some truly interactive experiences.

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